Northwest Cellars 2010 Merlot, Columbia Valley, $18
Merlot remains a workhorse for Washington wineries, ranking No. 4 in terms of tons crushed throughout the state last year. This Kirkland winery produced a wine with aromas of red currant, cherry, sassafras, vanilla and fresh mint. Substantial tannins on the entry pave the way to flavors of dark cherry, dark chocolate and dried strawberry, yet the tannins subside on the finish, which includes notes of black currant and black pepper. Enjoy this with well-marbled meats.
Production: 1,316 cases